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making it



Poet’s Introduction:

My father is of Spanish descent; my mother, Italian. Her father bought the shoe shine parlor in the early 1920s. I wrote this poem in a laundromat while watching the family’s wash spin around in a dryer--perhaps there is some symbolism in that.


Vocabulary:

depression, railway flat, speak-easies, Plato’s Symposium, Tristram Shandy  (an 18th century novel, by Laurence Sterne, which parodies autobiographical literature), la Rive Gauche.


Pre-Reading:

Who are your favorite family members? Why do you like them? Where are your ancestors from? Why did they come to the U.S.? How did you learn about your family background? What is your favorite story about your family?


Post-Reading:

Concrete:

Why did Great Grandfather go to Puerto Rico? How do we know that he “hid pretty well?”  Where did Grandfather die?  What does “remembering to me” mean? Who is remembered? What did he do?


Abstract:

What type of person is the narrator? How does he feel about his family? His own life?


Creative:

Can you capitalize and punctuate this poem? Interview a family member about an ancestor and write a brief character sketch of him or her. Write a brief autobiography that includes your own dreams.






the cop



Poet’s Introduction:

It really happened.


Vocabulary:

stand (the marble platform supporting the bench upon which three customers could sit).


Pre-Reading:

Have you ever had something frightening happen to you?


Post-Reading:

Concrete:

Why is the gun not visible until after the shine is finished? What does the narrator think is going to happen? What does happen?


Abstract:

The poem is written in short lines. What feeling do they suggest? If the reader is expected to pause at the end of each line, what effect is created by the break:  “then he gave me/a buck?”


Creative:

Write about an unusual or a frightening event.






the day i threw thoreau off the roof


Poet’s Introduction:

My Eleventh Grade English teacher had us read Walden, in which Thoreau describes in detail his rustic house, his animal neighbors, and his bean patch. After I read it, I asked our teacher if that meant we were to leave home and camp out with the winos by the Harlem River. He looked at me as only a teacher could.


Vocabulary:

Thoreau, airshaft, Civil Disobedience.


Pre-Reading:

Is it possible to simplify our lives? What possessions could you give up if you had to? How would you like to live?


Post-Reading:

Concrete:

What does the narrator learn from the radio? What is thrown down the airshaft?


Abstract:

What is the mood of this poem? How does the narrator feel about Thoreau? Why? Convert this from a prose poem into a conventional poem by using line breaks.


Creative: Write a poem about anger. Write a brief tribute to an author you respect. Write a prose poem that uses a repeating line.

The Shoe Shine Parlor Poems et al:

A Teachers Guide

Zeugpress

2014

ISBN: 978-0-9632201-1-0

Perfect bounsd, 40pp.




The Shoe Shine Parlor Poems et al:

A Teachers Guide

Zeugpress: Smashwords Edition

2014

ISBN: 9781310265044

Epublication

www.smashwords.com/books/view/491264




The Shoe Shine Parlor Poems et al: A Teachers Guide




Samples fom A Teacher’s Guide


Please Note: the Teachers Guide does not include the poems from ssppea.


The Shoe Shine Parlor Poems et al: A Teachers Guide is available as an epublication from Smashwords:  www.smashwords.com/books/view/491264